Archive for February, 2016

Turn a Crystal Report into a web dashboard

Friday 26 February 2016 @ 3:22 pm

Adam Butt of APB Reports in Norway has developed some sophisticated web dashboards using Crystal Reports exported to txt format. You have to see them to appreciate them. They are interactive and the data behind them can be refreshed automatically as often as needed to keep them up to date.

Adam accomplishes this by creating special text objects in the report to hold the needed HTML code and javascript. The report is then scheduled to export in txt format, but is named as an HTML file.  The file includes all of the data and code to run the dashboard. The files can then be automatically uploaded to a website by the same scheduler software that created the export. Adams process is built around Visual Cut as the export engine, but you could probably accomplish something similar with other scheduling tools.

And if you don’t want to learn the techniques, you can hire Adam to create dashboards for you.

2016 updates to Find it EZ

Monday 15 February 2016 @ 3:30 pm

Find it EZ Software has released a 2016 edition for their product suite. They are now offering the software in three tiers:

  • Code Search Pro Desktop
  • Code Search Pro Server
  • Dev Surge 365 Enterprise

You can download a comparison of the three tiers for more specifics. So what is new?

Dev Surge 365:
This is a new offering that covers all the features of the previous products. It adds the ability to mass update connection information within a BOE repository (Server, DB UID, PWD). It can do this at the report level or at the scheduled event level. It also adds the ability to do mass comparisons of objects. This includes Crystal Reports, database objects, several programming languages and office documents. In all cases you can drill down to granular differences between the objects. It runs on Windows desktop or Windows Server OS.

In all three editions you can now go beyond extracting the SQL from report expressions and commands. You can also now extract the SQL from database objects, like views and stored procedures that are called by the report. So now you can keep track of the fields used by a report, even if that field is only mentioned in SQL stored in the database.

Free trials are available on the Find it EZ website.

Sage 50 update might disable some reports

Saturday 13 February 2016 @ 5:08 pm

If you are a Sage 50 user and rely on Crystal Reports you might want to pause before you apply a specific recent update. I have been told by Dave Smith at Phase One Computing that Sage 50 US Edition, update 2016.2 can prevent Sage from running reports if the reports use any of the “GetPeach” functions. If you have not already installed that update, you might want to wait and check your critical reports to see if they use these functions.

Dave says that Sage is aware of the problem but we don’t yet know how they will respond.

Update on 2/18 from Dave Smith:

SOLUTION FOUND: When this Sage 50 update is installed, which requires a conversion of the database, make sure that in addition to resetting your Crystal Reports User Security Settings (reset the password with the Change button), that you also click on the “Install Sage 50 Data Functions” link to the right of the screen. This will update the u2lpeach.dll file with the new Sage 50 Data Functions, which directly impacts Crystal Reports. After doing this, the Crystal Reports which use the GETPEACH expressions (this accesses the u2lpeach.dll file), will operate correctly.

Document from SAP on Excel exports

Friday 5 February 2016 @ 12:10 am

I have written several times over the years about exporting reports to Excel. My first post was in 2005 and follow-ups in 2008, 2012 and 2015. It took much trial and error but I eventually found solutions to most of the challenges.

So I was a bit surprised to find a 15-page document dedicated to exporting to Excel on the SAP website. It was originally published years ago, but exactly when is hard to say. The web page that hosts the document says it was created in 2008 and updated in 2012. But the page footer inside the PDF has a time-stamp from 2006 right next to a copyright of 2004. Obviously it isn’t new and was available when I was struggling with these exports. It would have been nice to know about the document. In some ways it goes into more depth, like explaining how all of the export options work.

But my posts cover several points that are not covered or not covered clearly in the SAP document. For instance, they don’t provide any help when it comes to subreport data. The also document points out 3 main reasons you will get extra rows:

1) Objects not horizontally aligned in a section
2) Objects in a section have different heights
3) Complex conditional suppression formulas.

It also mentions that extra space at the bottom of a section can cause extra rows.  But the document never clearly explains that extra space at the TOP of a section does the same thing. It took me several years to figure that one out. In other words, the objects could be all the same height, be perfectly aligned, have no conditional suppression and all be touching the bottom of the section. Despite all that you would still get extra rows if there was a sliver of space between the top of the objects and the top of the section. To fix this you can use the “Size and Position” property to set the Y position to zero, but this can only be done one object at a time.  Or you can just push the objects against the top of the section. One trick I use is to select all the objects in a section and align them, and then hit [CTRL-up arrow] until the row jumps to the next section. Then hit [CTRL-down arrow] once. They should jump right back into the original section and should end up at position zero.

So you should certainly download this document. I have, and have added it to my Useful Links page. But you should also note the links above to get the full picture.

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